January 2005

Apple Mac Mini

Remember all the talk around here about revolutionary products at revolutionary prices. This is one of them. Not so much revolutionary for what it is, after all it is only an iBook without the screen, but for what it means. For years people have been asking for a “headless” iMac, something with which you can get into the Mac world cheaply using your existing display and keyboard. Now, it’s finally here and it’s priced relatively low. The Mac Mini starts (and we do mean starts) at $499, but most users will want to add more RAM and an accessories like an Airport extreme card. While the RAM upgrade can be had third-party (and is definitely recommended given the paltry 256MB included with the system), the card (based on info known at the time of this publishing) has to be added by Apple at the factory. The Mini is extremely small (6.5” x 6.5” x 2”) —smaller than the size of most CD Drives and while it’s not a barn burner, it will be an excellent computer for most people. It’s also a powerful lure to many Windows users who have always wanted a Mac but could never afford one. It ships with OS X (10.3 Panther) and the iLife suite among other cool software. While we lament the fact that it has a 2.5” 4200rpm hard drive instead of a 7200rpm 3.5” HDD, we love the rest of it. Believe us, this thing is cool. You’ll want one, even if it’s for browsing the internet in the kitchen or spare bedroom.
Check it out here

Cadbury Chocolate

Originally made in Birmingham and later in Bourneville, England, this chocolate has become an international favorite and for good reason. We consider it to be the best-tasting chocolate in the world. While there’s loads of chocolate more expensive such as Godiva, the mainstream Swiss brands, and the esoteric handmade chocolates sold in boutiques, Cadbury’s has the right amount of creaminess, the right texture, the right color and most importantly an absolutely sublime finish that leaves you wanting more. Now there are those that could argue this is a pretty subjective argument and would levy an argument on us made up of the aforementioned fine chocolates and dark bitter chocolates and those that are painstakingly acquired-tastes. Nonetheless, we urge you to try it for yourself and find a chocolate that tastes better. It’s available in the US as big slabs in four varieties, Dairy Milk*, Fruit and Nut, Roasted Almond and Caramel. (*Dairy Milk is the original plain chocolate that’s the basis of all the other varieties. It’s called Dairy Milk since milk chocolate was fairly new in the early 1900s and advertising campaigns used to stress each half pound was made with one and half glasses of full cream milk).
Learn more here

DVD Shrink

DVD Shrink, how do we love thee? Let me count the ways. DVD Shrink is software that assists you in backing up your legally-purchased DVDs for safekeeping or for use on trips so you don’t accidentally scratch that This is Spinal Tap Criterion that you so covet while visiting your great Aunt Irma. DVD Shrink makes everything very easy and handles the heavy lifting itself (sometimes reencoding the video on a dual-layer DVD to make it fit on a DVD-R). To further save space, you can remove alternate language tracks and special features because let’s face it, on the road it’s all about the movie. The interface is clean, it’s extremely well-written and it creates error-free, nearly bullet-proof DVDs. The price for this great software: completely free. So go ahead and take pleasure in one of the free small joys that are all but disappearing in our greed-obsessed, corporate-bottom-line-driven culture.
Download it here

Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser

Think of the last time you needed to erase something. Surely you must have felt a slight twinge of dissatisfaction at the discolored smudge left on your pristine, creamy paper. If only you had the choice of professionals, the Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser, a large white synthetic eraser which is equally adept at erasing on paper, vellum, or film. Easily recognizable is its characteristic blue sheath, the brilliant white Mars Plastic will make easy work of most erasing tasks. Often the first choice among draftsmen, architects, and engineers, the Mars Plastic does not tear or ghost and is non abrasive on recommended surfaces. While we personally like the older design of the cardboard sheath in royal blue and the words “Mars Plastic” spelled out in a typeface matching the classic Staedtler logo, the performance is the same in the newer navy sheath with the “Mars Plastic” in a humanistic sans serif typeface. This will become your favorite eraser and to your surprise you may find yourself extolling the virtues of an eraser to complete strangers on the web. Due to your attachment, you may carry Mars Plastic wherever you go and sometimes find yourself touching it secretly in your pocket for comfort thinking you can erase the trouble from the world. It is therefore imperative that we warn you to use Mars Plastic responsibly. (Also available in a rarely seen stick form or in a combination format that erases pencil and drawing ink)
Check out the complete line of Mars Plastic here

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